These sessions provide you an opportunity to have a casual discussion about the problems you are experiencing, and the ideas you are thinking of. You may have already found family members may not be the best people to discuss these issues with. And doing so may be increasing stress at home. I know you will appreciate a setting where you can confidentially discuss your business issues and get the insight of another business professional who could offer solutions. I find through regular discussion and thought-sharing that not only will you feel less stressed, but you have more quality time for yourself and your family.
There isn't enough time! This is where I often start with a new client. We go through a two-part process. Part A is identifying your business priorities as you see them. Part B has me mapping out how you are using your time every day of the week. How well you are eating, resting, exercising, and sleeping is very important to me. If you are not healthy, your business can't possibly be healthy either! I help you understand what your actual priorities should be and reset your expectations to reasonable ones. I also identify where you are spinning your wheels and give you strategies to stop their motion. You'll be amazed by how differently you can look at your to-do lists.
Did you know that if you improve the processes by which you conduct functions and tasks, you will have even more time available for other business areas? Learning how to block out interruptions can gain you even more time. One strategy I use is to observe you perform different tasks. I can see where you might eliminate unnecessary steps and recommend more efficient approaches. I can also help you optimize features already available in the software tools you are using that you may not be aware of. Additionally, I can help you determine when it is the right time to outsource a responsibility or even hire an employee.
When it comes to running a small business, one size does not fit all – though many brands say just that about their products! Here's an example. If you were to ask me if you need to buy QuickBooks, you might hear me say – not yet! Even though Intuit might try to convince you otherwise. For the tiniest business, simple spreadsheets can be organized to track expenses., invoices and payments received. If you were to ask me about project management tools, I do not immediately reach for MS Project, because it can be expensive and you may not need all of its features. Instead, I think of a tool such as Smart Sheets. I have found Google Calendar is an excellent tool for some people to manage multiple schedules that have an impact on each other. These are just a couple of the systems I can help you identify (or even stay away from) and implement. I consider your business needs and help you to determine the right solution out from dozens available today.
How about tapping into my project management expertise? There are many small businesses whose service is all about project management but owners have had no exposure to learning its concepts. Defining a clear scope of work, assigning the right resources, setting a well thought out budget and schedule, planning for status update meetings, and using change order processes are just a few things that can bring stability to your business. I've even helped businesses improve how they develop estimates and bid on projects. Even back-end operations changes can benefit from using sound project management principles to get them accomplished.
What's this? I can do a complete analysis of the current state of affairs in your business, and help you plan for growth in all aspects of your business using the needs assessment I designed and which I refer to as the “Operations Inventory.” It encompasses 13 different areas in business operations. Several of these areas include the type of business entity you have formed, accounting & finance, and human resources (if you have employees). Most businesses need assistance with 5 to 8 areas – only a few businesses need to look at all 13. The time it takes to do a comprehensive inventory varies depending on the age and size of your business. The Inventory allows us to gather the information needed to develop a plan to set your business operations on sound footing. The end product of this process is a written proposal where we provide an overview of our findings and our recommendations to you. We can work with you to improve any or all of these 13 areas.